The Monte Altesina Nature Reserve was established in 1997 and consists mainly of holm oak and oak woods. Mount Altesina is almost 1200 meters high and at the top you can enjoy a magnificent view of the island .
In the past it was called Mons Aereus, (the aerial mountain), probably due to its soaring and clearly visible shape. The Arabs used it as a reference point to create the “3 Valleys” that is the three administrative regions of Sicily .
In addition to nature, this remote place also offers a bit of culture. Following the path inside the protected area you will meet the ruins of an ancient convent (called Cummintazzu), probably built by hermit monks around 1100 . They are only ruins but the context in which it is inserted, built on a rock in the middle of nature, makes it truly fascinating.
These places were actually inhabited from much more remote times, at least from the Bronze Age. At the top of the mountain you will find archaeological remains , the structures of a settlement used several times until the Middle Ages. Among the ruins appear houses, cisterns, large artificial caves probably used as tombs.
How to get there and which path to follow
There are various paths in the Monte Altesina Nature Reserve, in this article the “Monte Altesina” path is described, which points straight to the top of the mountain, passing through woods and archaeological remains (It is marked in red on the map below). Of course you can also follow other paths, in the reserve you will find all the indications.
The directions of the navigator could be wrong, so to visit the reserve and not get lost, you have to go exactly here and then follow the directions that will put you on a dirt road, which will take you to the parking lot. Not far away you will find an equipped area (Rifugio altesina) with tables chairs, kitchenettes and an artificial pond.
From here you can follow the Altesina path towards Cummitazzu (there are signs inside the reserve), ie the remains of the ancient convent mentioned above. In all it is about 600 meters from the car park to this point. If you wish, you can continue and follow the “Altesina Path” which will take you to the top of the mountain, where you can observe the finds and the splendid panorama . However, keep in mind that about 2 km of uphill path await you.
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What to see around the Monte Altesina Reserve
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Here instead you find the typical Sicilian dishes in general.